The Approaching Storm

The Approaching Storm
Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña (French, 1807-1876)
Oil on canvas 
33-1/4 x 41-5/8 in. (84.4 x 105.6 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
On View

A founding member of the so-called Barbizon school, Diaz helped upend French landscape tradition in the 1830s and 1840s. Alongside Théodore Rousseau and others of their generation, Diaz abandoned Paris and its academic strictures for the village of Barbizon and the forest of Fontainebleau, drawing inspiration directly from nature. This late, storm-lit landscape demonstrates Diaz’s talent for spectacular luminous effects: the sun breaks through a troubled sky, revealing a rocky landscape, a blasted tree, and a lone human figure, picking her way through the middle distance. Richly varied brushwork—much of it wet-in-wet—gives the picture its rugged texture and heightens the drama without recourse to a story.


[Galerie Boussod-Valadon, no. 9679, Paris?]
MM. P.-L. Everard et Cie. de Londres (sale, Paris, 28 April 1873, lot 20, as L’Orage, les grès de Fontainebleau, for FF 10,000).
George I. Seney, New York (sale, New York, American Art Association, 11-13 February 1891, lot 294, for $3,100, to);
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (sale, New York, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, 3 May 1979, lot 44, to);
Norton Simon Trust No. 2 (1979-1983); gift to;
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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